Coaches always tell their underdog team that they are only an upset away from being a school everybody will talk about. Multiple area teams proved that point Friday, giving us lots of high school football to discuss at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
Baker, a No. 30 seed, pulled an upset in Class 3A for the second straight week. Ditto did No. 24 Brusly in 3A. And let’s throw The Dunham School in there. Outside of Baton Rouge, I’m not sure many people expected the fifth-seeded Tigers to oust No. 4 Newman.
“I am so proud of our kids for the way they played,” Dunham coach Neil Weiner said. “Newman is such an awesome place with a great environment, and the atmosphere is great. We could have been in awe of that or intimidated, but they weren’t. We played extremely well.”
Sometimes, the element of surprise works well for an underdog, particularly when the other team hails from another part of the state. That might have helped Brusly in its win over No. 8 Marksville.
It was a slightly different story for Baker, a team I felt was dangerous going into the playoffs based on games I saw. The Buffaloes played Iota, the team that eliminated them a year ago. Coach Eric Randall stressed to his team that it was a “test” they needed to pass. Mission accomplished.
Not all playoff matchups are created equal. A good many of the high seed vs. low seed games are easy wins for the favorite. However, what can be difficult to judge is the strength of schedule, a team’s strengths, how much a team has improved during the season and momentum.
Momentum means so much. For example, Brusly has now won five straight.
Capitol, a No. 19 seed, also advanced in Class 2A with wins few people saw coming. Dorsett Buckels stressed that cliché name for the playoffs — the second season.
“I told my guys that it is not where you start or where you are at the end of the regular season,” Buckels said. “It’s where you end up that counts.”
Keeping it local
Both Class 1A/Division IV games this week match two local teams. It’s No. 6 East Iberville at third-seeded White Castle, a District 7-1A rematch, in a Class 1A quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, No. 7 Catholic-PC (10-2) travels to sixth-seeded Southern Lab (8-3) in Division IV semifinal action.
Red Stick Bowl
The meeting to select the players for Red Stick Bowl XVII is set for 2 p.m. Monday at Woodlawn High.
Zachary High's Bronco Stadium is the site of the local all-star game set for 2 p.m. Dec. 21. Local/area coaches meet at 9 a.m. Monday at Woodlawn to select the teams' players.
East Iberville coach Ron LeJeune (Eagles) Zachary defensive coordinator Steven Thomas (Patriots) will be the head coaches.
Featured games of the week are St. Paul's at Catholic, Booker T. Washington versus Madison Prep and Hahnville vs. Zachary.
Parkview Baptist is the site of the All-Metro volleyball selection meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2. Coaches should bring at least 15 copies of each nomination form for every player they nominate. If coaches cannot attend the meeting, nomination form(s) should be sent to PBS coach Becky Madden no later than noon on Dec. 2. Call Madden at 225-291-2500, Ext. 120, with any questions. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
• St. Michael will host the All-Metro cross country meeting for local/area coaches at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, in Room 1 at the school.
Contact SMHS coach Neil Borel at nborel.smhsbr.org with questions or to submit nominations.